White House Refuses To Hand Over Biden's Tapes From Hur Probe

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May 16, 2024

The White House on Thursday refused congressional requests to hand over the audio and video recordings from Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents. 

"The absence of a legitimate need for the audio recordings lays bare your likely goal—to chop them up, distort them, and use them for partisan political purposes," the White House said in a Thursday letter to the Republican-led House Oversight and Judiciary committees. 

"Demanding such sensitive and constitutionally-protected law enforcement materials from the Executive Branch because you want to manipulate them for potential political gain is inappropriate," the letter added.

The White House letter comes as the committees are expected on Thursday to advance a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt for defying a congressional subpoena that requested the recordings of the special counsel’s interviews with Biden.

The House Republicans already have transcripts of the interviews but are demanding access to the audio and video recordings in order to better determine whether Biden willfully retained classified documents.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (Md.), the Oversight Committee’s top Democrat, in a statement this week accused the House Republicans of "trying to blame Attorney General Merrick Garland for their own protracted comedy of errors."

"The Attorney General gave Republicans the information they asked for, and it’s delightfully absurd to suggest that listening to the President’s words instead of just reading them will suddenly reveal the mystery high crime and misdemeanor the Republicans have been unable to identify since 2023," Raskin said.

Garland had appointed Hur in January 2023 as special counsel to investigate Biden after the discovery of classified documents from Biden’s vice presidency at his personal office and Delaware residence.

Hur faced a barrage of criticism from both sides of the political aisle when he decided not to press criminal charges against Biden but described the president as "a well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory" and said it would be difficult to convince a jury to convict Biden of "a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness."

The special counsel stood by and later defended his decision in front of Congress. "My assessment in the report about the relevance of the President's memory was necessary and accurate and fair," Hur said. "Most importantly, what I wrote is what I believe the evidence shows and what I expect jurors would perceive and believe."

"I did not sanitize my explanation, nor did I disparage the president unfairly," Hur added.